Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, the 16-year-old judo competitor from Saudi Arabia became the first female athlete from the Saudi Arabia to compete at the Olympics.
|Wodjan as part of the Saudi delegation during the march past of opening ceremony|
Although she lost to her Puerto Rican opponent Melissa Mojica, she had made her mark and ushered in a new era for her fellow Saudi female athletes to come forward and participate in the international games.
It is however rather surprising that the IOC was all set to ban saudi Arabia from the games for not sending female athletes - and when Saudi Arabia did send their female athletes for the first time in the history of the country, Wodjan was denied entry into Judo event as she insisted to wear Hijab as prescribed by Islam. However she was later allowed when Shahrkhani wore a tight-fitting black cap.
Although she has earned a blue belt in the Japanese martial art, Wodjan wore a black belt to compete. She has been training for two years, mostly with her father who is an international judo referee.
Wodjan's Puerto Rican opponent Melissa Mojica defeated her in 1 minute, 22 seconds. But for Wodjan, it was still a victory for having won the right to participate in international games.